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News Holiday Inn tests smartphone key app

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 26 May 2010.

  1. CardJoe

    CardJoe Freelance Journalist

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  2. lacuna

    lacuna Minimodder

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    physical keys are always going to be best since they always work. if your phone battery runs out you're boned.
     
  3. Jamie

    Jamie ex-Bit-Tech code junkie

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    Or if your smartphone gets stolen.

    I wonder how long it would take for an application to run through several thousands key combinations to try and brute force the door.
     
  4. Draksis

    Draksis What's a Dremel?

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    Not to mention that the cleaning staff would also need the phones to get in, but theirs would not expire - or get refreshed daily. Simply stealing one of those would render the system useless.
     
  5. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

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    Did you think before you posted that?
     
  6. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    @lacuna - I'd imagine they may just have thought of that fairly obvious issue and come up with an equally obvious workaround. Let's be realistic, there will be an alternative access system for those who don't want to use a smartphone or whose phone battery has died or whose phone is stolen or lost, much as there is always a spare key or they can run off a spare keycard.

    @Draksis - I don't think it's too much to assume the smartphone entry will be optional - I'm sure they will still happily give you a keycard instead, which is obviously how the staff will get in. Also the hotel will obviously have the ability to revoke any key (including staff keys), so it wouldn't render the system useless to have a staff key stolen.

    @Jamie - It would be logical to have a (potentially optional) PIN required on the smartphone app to make it work, so losing your smartphone wouldn't let anyone else get access. And that's assuming you haven't got a password / PIN lock on your smartphone to begin with. Not only that, but (unlike the physical keys used in many hotels) your smartphone won't have the name of your hotel, let alone your room number, on it, so your phone thief would have to be pretty determined and a lot of factors would have to fall into place to let him access your room - in any event it is in no circumstances worse than a physical key, which can be stolen just as easily as a phone, has no further authentication, and often directs a thief right to your room. And let's not even get into discussing the common situation at many hotels where you leave your key at the desk for the day and just walk up to the receptionist and say your room number, and they hand over the key no questions asked!

    To you rother point, given the bandwidth limitations on an audio based system, and the very limited bandwidth requirements this system would have, I imagine the system only works at a few kbps (like an old school modem), so it would take a long time to go through many combinations. Since the code can be arbitrarily long, I think we'd be looking at a lot more than a few thousand combinations (even a 32-bit key would give you ~4 billion combinations; they could just as easily tie it to a 256 bit hash, giving approx 10^77 combinations). I'd also imagine the system has a timed lockout if the wrong code is sent too many times to stop brute forcing the system.
     
  7. Showerhead

    Showerhead What's a Dremel?

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    How long before someone hacks this?
     
  8. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    actually they have a master card that opens all the doors so I doubt they would use such an app for security reasons.
     
  9. l3v1ck

    l3v1ck Fueling the world, one oil well at a time.

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    I'd prefer a wallet sized keycard even though I do have a smart phone.
     
  10. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    Also - bit of a faff - instead of key in, door open, I have smartphone out, unlock screen, enter PIN, open app, enter another PIN, hold up to door, hope it works, then door open. User friendly?
     
  11. metarinka

    metarinka What's a Dremel?

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    people are putting up a lot of resistance to this. pretty much has all the same pitfalls of the current keycard system. I'm guessing this will be a dual use system where you can have the keycard or put up the phone. Basically instead of encoding the information on a magnetic strip they put it on your phone.


    not to mention all the maids already have room keys, the hotel staff have room keys etc. I think the advantage here is it's one less thing to carry and lose, most business people are good at keeping track of your phone and now you can book a room online, get your key walk right in the door go right to the room and not have to talk to anyone.

    They are trying to sell this on simplicity, I don't think it's any less or more robust than a magnetic key or physical key.
     
  12. thehippoz

    thehippoz What's a Dremel?

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    it would be better if done by bluetooth instead.. who wants to wake up because some guy has his phone full blast trying to get in his room
     
  13. chrisb2e9

    chrisb2e9 Dont do that...

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    I'm either glad that I live in Canada, or glad that i'm not totally paranoid.
    I think this is a good idea. I always loose keycards. I never loose my phone. its glued to my hand.
    As for security, i'm sure that they have already thought of the obvious issues brought up here.
     
  14. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    "...as there's no expensive key to worry about losing."

    Since when are hotel room keys expensive?

    Also I'll be at the O'Hare Rosemont in a couple weeks, I'll ask for the key app :D
     
  15. [WP@]WOLVERINE

    [WP@]WOLVERINE What's a Dremel?

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    another great example of companys spending shitloads of money on developing useless technology that nobody asked for and that nobody needs.
     
  16. brysonkoehler

    brysonkoehler What's a Dremel?

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    I'm excited by the interest in our project! Since so many of you have such an interest in this topic, I’d like to invite you to join me in our innovation forum for this project where we can go deeper into the conversation. Feel free to email me at bryson.koehler@ihg.com to gain access.

    I can provide a bit more background on this topic and give a quick overview of the three main drivers behind this project.

    Our first aim was to eliminate the requirement that traditional magnetic keys have - a physical hand off from the hotel to the guest. While some guests prefer the traditional front desk check-in and the human to human contact it doesn’t allow for our guests to have choices in how they check in. Many frequent travellers would love to check in online and proceed directly to their room – many wouldn’t. Our aim is to provide realistic choices to meet the various needs of our guests. This key here is choice. I know this isn't for everyone and that's OK.

    The second goal is to manage cost, security and environmental impact. RFID costs can add up. How many of you have accidentally found a room key or two in your pocket after you returned home? RFID cards cost significantly more to produce and each card that leaves the hotel without being returned has to be replaced with both environmental and economic impacts. On the security front, I’m very pleased with the added security this option provides over the standard key or even RFID approaches. It really is a more secure technology than what’s out there today.

    The third problem we’re solving is consistency. As the world’s largest hotel company, we have to ensure we look beyond what is available today to where we will be in several years. With over 650,000 hotel rooms around the world we simply can’t deploy the latest eye candy technology every time something new comes out. We also don’t want to deploy technology to just a few hotels and claim victory. We are working very hard to watch trends and place bets on how our lives will be several years down the road.

    Thanks again for your passion in this fun debate!
     
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